The U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction found a range of air conditioning and heating systems for new single-family homes across the country.
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At the International Builders' Show 2023, build-to-rent (BTR) veterans Jay Byce and Sudha Reddy shared key elements of BTR communities during the Built-for-Rent: Shifting Your Business to Accommodate this Hot Housing Trend session. Byce is co-founder of ResiBuilt Homes, an Atlanta based BTR company, and Reddy is CEO of Haven Realty Capital.

Considering the mixture of millennials, families, empty nesters, and boomers, both Byce and Reddy agreed that single-family rentals need to have the same finishes that for-sale single-family homes have. Below are four takeaways Byce and Reddy see as beneficial elements of current and developing BTR communities.

1. Adequate storage keeps tenants longer. Like single-family homeowners, renters value storage in the form of garages and additional closets. As BTR homes become a stepping stone to more space for by choice and by necessity renters, storage is a great asset to offer. Byce said, “We make sure to have oversized closets and a two-car garage. The more stuff people have, the less likely they are to move.”

2. Four-bedroom floor plans are ideal. Whether for down-sizers or growing families, additional spaces are beneficial for BTR residents. Reddy said, “We certainly do not skimp. So, we’re typically a family floor plan. Three, four, or five bedrooms are sort of the range, but I would say, the sweet spot for us is probably four bedrooms at 2,100 to 2,400 square feet. And absolutely with a two-door garage. It is the key.”

3. Uniformed landscape improves curb appeal. BTR communities can offer uniformed landscape that not only helps the community’s curb appeal but also maintains a quality environment. Whether built into the base rent or a separate fee, the expense is outweighed by the benefit of a cohesive community. “Because there are homeowners that are meticulous about their landscaping and their upkeep and there are others that just have a different standard, we choose uniformed landscape throughout. The reality is, we control that [in our communities],” Reddy said.

4. Amenities can range by community size. For both Byce and Reddy, amenities vary from community to community, but the largest factor to deciding on amenities is the size of the community. For communities of over 100 homes, amenities are more expansive, while smaller communities may have one to two offerings like a dog park or a playground.

When asked if there’s a future exit strategy for BTR developers, Byce responded, “The truth is, what is really interesting about this space, whether scattered site or build-to-rent, is the value of the stream of cash flow can be more valuable than the underlying asset.” The two said they believe there will be a slowdown in new product, but current projects are on the right track.